FORBIDDEN: Incest threatens community's integrity
A FRASER Coast woman's incestuous relationship with her father raised questions concerning "the genetic integrity of the community," a Gympie District Court judge said this week.
But Judge Gary Long said it was hard to see what purpose was served by punishing the woman, who is the sole carer for two children, including the one born of the relationship.
He said the woman has been exploited.
Judge Long said the case "raises the question of the protection of the genetic integrity of the community" and whether this would "be met by some term of imprisonment".
Judge Long also questioned the extent to which the woman, even though adult at the time the sexual relationship began, was responsible for what occurred.
Reports showed the woman and her father were of below average intelligence, as was their child, but it was not clear if the child's difficulties were entirely a result of incest.
Judge Long noted that explicit phone messages and photos sent from her phone to her father did not mean, "of itself, that he was not exploiting her".
Tests showed both had IQ scores in the bottom 2 per cent of the population and the child had "significant intellectual difficulties".
In prosecution submissions, the court was told: "The Crown accepts that there is a degree of exploitation, but there was a degree of mutuality as well" in the relationship.
The father had been absent from his daughter's life since she was two and had re-entered her life when she was 18.
"He exercised what appeared to be some sort of power or control over her," the prosecutor told the court.
The court was told in defence submissions that the woman "knew he was her father" (at the time of the offences) but had been "unaware of this in the early stages".
There were some problems with their child's language skills, but it was unclear if a genetic difficulty was related to inbreeding or the fact that the father and his daughter also had difficulties.
The two maintained their relationship at "a number of addresses in (the Fraser Coast region)".
The woman's defence barrister told the court there had been "no intervention by the Department of Child Safety" and said there was no need for a custodial sentence, because there was "no apparent exploitation by her".
The Gympie Times declines to name the woman because it might identify their child.
She was in a situation resulting from "a very unusual set of circumstances".
The defence lawyer said he could not offer any fully relevant precedents to assist the court to arrive at a consistent punishment because there were "no other comparable cases".
The court also heard the woman was the sole carer for two children, including a younger one who did not show any intellectual difficulties.
The judge said there was no indication of a need for "supervision or rehabilitation".
He placed her on a two-year $200 good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.